Will you be switching to D&D Next when it comes out or will you stay with Pathfinder?


4th Edition

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People are complaining about the lack of PDFs in the sense that if WOTC doesn't support them, they will not be switching over or investing significantly in 5E. Which is pretty much on target for this thread, even if it did blow up into a separate tangent.


Yup, and that is something I can talk peaceably with. If your goal is to motivate change, then trying to do it here befuddles me.

Shadow Lodge

Has there been something official stating that WotC will not be putting out PDFs for 5e? Just because they aren't simultaneous with the release of the physical book, that doesn't mean that their policy is no PDFs, EVER.


Have lots of Pathfinder stuff, so I would like to stick with it. On the other hand I´ll be going to university in another town, and if gamers there prefer DnD...


Kthulhu wrote:
Has there been something official stating that WotC will not be putting out PDFs for 5e? Just because they aren't simultaneous with the release of the physical book, that doesn't mean that their policy is no PDFs, EVER.

There isn't to my knowledge. However, when the digital question is brought up in general folks are directed to Dungeonscape (formerly Project Morningstar). To me, that's a huge indicator they're not doing them.


Kthulhu wrote:
Has there been something official stating that WotC will not be putting out PDFs for 5e? Just because they aren't simultaneous with the release of the physical book, that doesn't mean that their policy is no PDFs, EVER.

Mearls has stated there won't be a .pdf of the PHB, as in a scanned copy of the book itself, but rather a document explicitly designed for use with a computer/tablet/handheld, to increase utility. So, it'll likely be a while.


Buri wrote:
Why complain here, though? It's not a Wizards controlled board. I can understand simply stating your opinion on the matter but going back and forth here has almost zero impact. Have you written them? Have you tweeted to the many figures on twitter? There are many more effective ways of making your point in a meaningful way than trying to express yourself on a competitor's site.

'Cause someone asked?

But really, my motivation is irrelevant to the validity of my point. I mean seriously -- LOOK, OVER THERE!

Scarab Sages

I honestly think (ok, hope) that they may have something that ends up being better than PDFs. Small adventures and the like are OK with PDFs, but some of the larger ones like the Paizo hardcovers are so slow to use (thank goodness for Paizo's 'by section' PDFs at least).

If this Dungeonscape product gives you fast searchable content, gets errata slipstreamed in, and allows offline use, it would supercede the PDF model IMO. I'd be fine if they removed some of the graphics or used thumbnails to avoid lags. I don't think it will need to resemble the physical book like PDFs tend to.


There is a digital solution coming. It's just not here yet.


If it's something other than just PDF's, it's not going to work for me. I have an old iPad (gen 1). I can't upgrade the OS, which means I can't download 99% of new apps. Basically it's a pdf viewer at this point.


Irontruth wrote:
If it's something other than just PDF's, it's not going to work for me. I have an old iPad (gen 1). I can't upgrade the OS, which means I can't download 99% of new apps. Basically it's a pdf viewer at this point.

Even if you could, I am going to hazard a guess it would fail anyway. I mean, new formats are hard to get right, and for all it faults, there are reasons PDFs are ubiquitous.


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So to recap: WotC's failure to offer PDFs:

1. Inconveniences customers.
2. Reduces revenue.
3. Has no effect whatsoever on pirates.

But clearly they know what they're doing, because they're a big company, and as we know, big companies never make big mistakes...amirite?


Lots of companies forgo potential revenue for what they feel is to be the long term safety of their brand. That they're not doing something in particular is a rather moot point. Almost every company could be doing something else.


I'm with Philip in that unless Wizards somehow creates a customer service relationship somehow remotely on par with what Paizo has created, while I may play 5e, I will in no way promote it or encourage others to do so. For me, the product called Paizo customer relationships more than makes up for any shortcomings in the Pathfinder product.


One cannot assume that companies like Wizards know what they are doing, relative to DRM, and that whatever choice they make will be for the best. Experience with businesses in general teaches us that large companies run by rich men (men proven to have made money in the past) with investments in the status quo (policies proven to have made money in the past) are not always quick to pick up on the new trends of digital media. One might look to the larger producers of comics for evidence. They have long been losing readership, and are undoubtedly missing out on income from digital distribution, yet they persist in the same old techniques because they are fearful of piracy that, we have already established, is going on anyway.

To speak to the specific case of Wizards we need look only at the unmitigated debacle that was 4th ed. The conventional wisdom was that 3.X was too complicated, and they wanted to simplify things and ensure balance between classes. The fact of the matter is that the complaints of complexity were the minority opinion, and that 4th ed. was far simpler even than the Basic edition of the game. It is clear that Wizards' hope was to entice the new fantasy MMO market into playing tabletop games by making DnD something more familiar to them. It is equally clear that this effort was a resounding failure, both in that it failed to gain the new market share, but also in that it alienated loyal customers, who were more than happy to either continue using their 3.X materials or, like many of us, switch to Paizo products.

The take away from this is that not only is Wizards not immune to tone deafness when it comes to their intended audience, but that said deafness is par for their course with DnD. People are, as a point of fact, not theory, refraining from playing 5E due to considerations such as the high price point of the core books and the lack of a convenient digital option. Someone earlier called this hubris, which I think is quite apt, as they thought that nerds of our flavor would flock to 5E simply due to the DnD label. that is indeed what happened with 4E, but they seem to forget what followed was a decrease in confidence in a brand that had before been the industry leader by a seemingly insurmountable gulf. The only people who could take down DnD were the folks at Wizards, so I think that confidence that they know what they are doing is likely misplaced.


Managing a product and managing a company are two hugely different things. You can do one well while simultaneously doing the other poorly. Thanks to the MBA craze of the last decade+, more often than not the latter is what's done well at the expense of the former.


Or more generally, while they certainly would not intentionally lose money, they may well miscalculate. They might lose more money by not having convenient digital distribution early on than they would lose to piracy or to people buying the cheaper pdfs* if they had they available from the start. They might think they'll make more this way, but they could be completely wrong about that.
How long it takes this Dungeonscape to come out will be a factor (do we even have a release date yet?) and how well it works and what the deal really is.


thejeff wrote:

Or more generally, while they certainly would not intentionally lose money, they may well miscalculate. They might lose more money by not having convenient digital distribution early on than they would lose to piracy or to people buying the cheaper pdfs* if they had they available from the start. They might think they'll make more this way, but they could be completely wrong about that.

How long it takes this Dungeonscape to come out will be a factor (do we even have a release date yet?) and how well it works and what the deal really is.

That's alway possible. And, I don't think there's a release date yet. That's something I'm rather miffed about, actually.


GoatToucher wrote:
Experience with businesses in general teaches us that large companies run by rich men (men proven to have made money in the past) with investments in the status quo (policies proven to have made money in the past) are not always quick to pick up on the new trends of digital media. One might look to the larger producers of comics for evidence. They have long been losing readership, and are undoubtedly missing out on income from digital distribution, yet they persist in the same old techniques because they are fearful of piracy that, we have already established, is going on anyway.

With comics part of the issue is the pushback from the retailers. They have tried to do same-day digital sales at a slightly lower price point only to have retailers pull everything from that publisher off the shelves in retaliation.

Which, now that I think of it, might be part of the reason Wizards/Hasbro is reluctant (so far) to sell digital content. They might be worried about angering the retailers.

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